Tag Archives: Humor

P. G. Wodehouse And Sleepy Reading

It has been few years since I discovered and started enjoying the writings of P. G. Wodehouse and ever since they have never failed to amaze me in their simplicity of story and wonderful English writing. There have been long stretches of times when I have read Wodehouse books before falling asleep and the stories have always helped me to go to sleep.

You might think that these books must be really boring that I go to sleep reading them but that is not the case. These stories relax your mind completely. These are the stories where there are no bad people. The biggest problems in life are related to style of clothing one needs to wear to dinner or in some cases a lover’s tiff. There are times when a pet pig does not eat enough or there is an unwanted guest in the house. These are the simple problems in the world of Woosters and Jeeves or Blandings Castle.

It is such a difference reading Wodehouse books as compared to other stories that consist of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, murders that it hits you in the face. Even if the book is not about secret spy missions or investigation, authors tend to create a mystery around their characters. Of course you enjoy reading these stories but the story keep you on the edge of the seat and are really not great reading if you are trying to go to sleep peacefully.

On the other hand, reading about Wooster fussing over his dress or Earl fussing over his pig Empress brings such a peaceful state in your mind that your eyes start drooping just like Wooster or Earl after a great lunch and enjoying the sun on a hammock. I wonder if there are other such great writers who can claim to bring sleep to you but are not boring or complicated.

Only one thing you need to be cautious about while reading Wodehouse in night is that you may end up laughing out loud suddenly and that can be a problem if your partner or spouse is sleeping next to you. Otherwise you will mostly end up sleeping with a soft and goofy smile on your face.

I recently came across that somebody has tried to recreate the Jeeves and Wooster magic again and a new book has come out. Not sure if somebody can recreate it but it will be interesting to read it.

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Filed under Fiction, Humor, Self-Help

“The Casual Vacancy”, By J. K. Rowling

Even though it was the first book that too meant for adult audience that J. K. Rowling had written after Harry Potter series, I waited for sometime before picking it up. I guess I did not want to be too disappointed. After all, there is no way she could have created the magic of Harry Potter series once again. Of course there was lot of media attention for this book and I ended up reading reviews and watching endless discussions. Finally, I could not wait and picked it up with the understanding that it is not going to be like Harry Potter but it still may be very good book and to a great extent I was not disappointed.

This story is about election for a council seat in a small British town and how it affects all aspects of society and brings out the best and worst in people. The characters here are powerless (pun intended) against the push and pull of societal pressures and their own shortcomings. Interesting part is that here also young children come out on the top as compared to their adult counterparts. Two of them Krystal and Sukhvinder stand apart from the rest. Krystal is teenage daughter of drug-addict mother but has dreams of coming out of it. Sukhvinder is daughter of respected Doctors in the community and has her own secrets.

I liked the detailing and development of characters in the story. It was also interesting to see how few young kids could hack the council website and post incriminating content. I would have liked a different and happy ending to the story but it is author’s prerogative and probably closer to reality.

“The Casual Vacancy” is not magical (again pun intended). At the same time, it is a realistic story told in engaging style.

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Filed under Fiction, Humor, Tragedy

“Ukridge”, By P. G. Wodehouse

My fascination with P. G. Wodehouse grows with each new book that I read by him. This time it was “Ukridge”. This is a different character than the earlier ones like Jeeves and Blandings. This is actually a collection of short stories based on the character of Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge. The stories are written from the perspective of his friend Corky Corcoran who is most of the times at the receiving end of Ukridge’s idiosyncratic money-making ideas.

The schemes are great and Ukridge refuses to see any shortcomings in his schemes. He is always most hopeful of grand success but needs just a little help from his friends. He wants to create a dog training college, earn money through accident insurance, selling fake tickets for his Aunt’s club and betting on Battling Billson. Even when he fails in all his schemes, he refuses to accept defeat and is ready with another scheme with the same confidence. He manages to convince his friends to take up completely absurd tasks for him and when it fails he simply ignores the whole incident and moves on. He may not have money in his pocket but he is ready to help anybody all the time.

It is really amazing to read about such a character in this book. There are times in our life when we all have come across such people who want that little help for their grand schemes. As usual Wodehouse is great in those simple conversations, metaphors and use of English language rather than the story idea to make it interesting. Once again a masterpiece of book and great reading.

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Filed under Fiction, Humor, Short-Stories

“A Damsel In Distress”, By P. G. Wodehouse

Once again a real gem from P. G. Wodehouse. A simple story that has been told in with slight variations so many times but in hands of writer like Wodehouse, it becomes a classic masterpiece. His writing is really a poetry in prose. He manages to use English language in a way that does not existed before him. The new expressions and similes and metaphors are created where none existed. The more I read of Wodehouse, more I become fan of him.

In this book, “A Damsel in Distress”, music director George Bevan meets and falls for young lady from Marshmoreton family. He traces her down to the Belpher castle but ends up with mistaken identity and there is all kind of funny things start happening around him. In the end he meets his love. There are other parallel love stories of Lord and his son as well. The story has all the elements of idyllic English countryside living as is often the case in Wodehouse stories. There are bets being placed in servant’s quarters, helping hands to potential suitors based on who placed bet on whom, strict mothers wanting the best for their daughters and the daughters who are ready to rebel and fly off.

Whenever I pick up a new book of Wodehouse, I think that it is better than the last one. Probably, with each book I understand more of his writing and I am able to enjoy it better. I just found that this book was made into a black and white movie and then later into a musical as well. I should definitely try to watch that and hopefully they would not have screwed it up.

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“God Save The Dork”, By Sidin Vadukut

This is a sequel to the first Dork book and continues with the adventures of Robin “Einstein” Verghese in consulting business. This book is set in London where our hero has been sent to handle the client account. Once again he ends up proving that he is a complete Dork after all. At the same time he seems to be lucky as well. He does everything that will land him in trouble but in the end manages to still succeed in life and career and eventually ends up earning lots of money as well.

His adventures with British museums are really great. The way he always ends up at wrong time in wrong place and ends up making a mockery of himself. The episode about his bad stomach and going to bathroom in middle of presentation but forgetting to switch off the microphone is really hilarious. In another incidence, he screws up the hotel hair dryer by putting all kinds of eatable stuff to take revenge on them but his own girlfriend ends up using it resulting in a huge disaster for him. How he manages to come out of such situations is really a mystery to me. But the character is completely honest to his diary and that is a wonderful aspect and how we are able to read about his life.

The books also highlights the dark side of business where CEOs are busy making money of their own putting shareholders money at stake and consultants helping them in doing this to earn their own business. I guess there are bad apples everywhere and when you leave too much money and power with people who are essentially dumb and weak and with poor moral values, you are inviting disaster anyway.

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Filed under Fiction, Humor